In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, Pernod, garlic, and saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the fennel and the cod and gently simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the fennel is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400?F. In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet and toast until crusty, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub each slice with the garlic halves.
To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of four soup bowls. Ladle the stew over the croutons and serve hot.
Yield: 4 servings